Following the horrific death of George Floyd in May 2020, we heard from many residents who asked for a review of our use of force policies with a goal of potentially saving lives, and also encouraged the City of Orlando to further address racial inequity through its investments, increase police transparency and law enforcement accountability.
In early July 2020, we took action and made several significant changes to OPD policies to ban all choke holds, ban no-knock warrants and updated our Response to Resistance policy.
Through our budgeting process, we increased our families parks and recreation budget by 16%, invested $22 million in funding for short and long term housing, and allocated $4 million for job training and economic development initiatives for minority and women-owned businesses. We also refocused $4.5 million in funding to strengthen community policing efforts, enhance review and training for use of force and fund mental health assistance for officers.
These were the first of many steps we, as a city, are committed to continue taking to review and update our police policies and practices and the many initiatives we can and should consider in order to address the gaps in racial disparity in our community and nation.
In September 2020, we are furthering this process and taking more action to identify additional reforms and programs we can implement to ensure that our police policy and training translate into our officers working better, together with our community.